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So I wanna do tech support as a small side gig. Formal education?

#1CardigansFanPosted 7/14/2014 6:15:54 PM(edited)
I still need to look into the specifics of creating a sole proprietorship and how it'd affect my taxes and whatnot, but I've always wondered - where do I get the formal education to do computer troubleshooting/virus removal/etc and whatnot? Or rather, what kinds of certifications would these be? A+? Cisco?

Like, if I give someone a business card when they start listing off computer problems, and they ask what kinds of certifications I have...what do I tell them? Let's assume this person isn't a complete idiot and happens to know what kinds of certifications exist (ex. from previous tech people working on his stuff).

The last stuff I did was easy both because it was a referral from a good friend and I got away with the no-formal-experience barrier by showing results right away, but obviously it won't always be that easy.

And I don't mind the costs involved with the certificates and whatnot, especially if it'll help my personal knowledge as well.
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#2wizardmonPosted 7/14/2014 6:16:02 PM
Apply part time at Geek Squad.
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#3LordSeiferPosted 7/14/2014 6:33:12 PM
people coming to a random dude in his basement arent going to want or need you to configure their cisco switches

basically just practical experience. a+ wont hurt. thats about it
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#4CardigansFan(Topic Creator)Posted 7/14/2014 6:42:16 PM
wizardmon posted...
Apply part time at Geek Squad.


I haven't heard a single good thing about working there.


LordSeifer posted...
people coming to a random dude in his basement arent going to want or need you to configure their cisco switches

basically just practical experience. a+ wont hurt. thats about it


Depending on how well it'd go, I wouldn't mind turning it into an actual business with an office (although since I'd be doing house/business calls, I don't think it'd be all too useful at the same time). For the time being, I have a crapload of referrals I can count on. Good to know regardless.
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#5GeminiX7Posted 7/14/2014 6:50:18 PM(edited)
A+ certification. It's something that can be obtained in less than a month. 2 tests, 80 questions each. Covers Hardware, Software, Troubleshooting, and Security. Not absolutely required, but it makes you look better than not having it.

Just know that as far as the IT training goes, it's pretty damn basic. But it does make you look more knowledgeable. And it's invaluable for troubleshooting.
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#6Fear The ClownPosted 7/14/2014 7:03:55 PM
Working at geek squad sucks. However the experience there falls right in line with the kinds of issues you'll deal with and the portion of the general public that are willing to pay you to do pc work on the side will really value you saying you worked there. I made quite a bit on the side doing work for people. My biggest recent side project was setting up an rv park with wifi access, equated to 20 hours of work and $2000 in the pocket and the conversation started because they found out I was working at geek squad at the time.
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#7SilentHawk29Posted 7/14/2014 7:06:14 PM
Aside from A+, there's the MS certs you could get.
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#8zen_miseryPosted 7/14/2014 9:14:15 PM
Why do you need formal education if you are self employed? You either know what you are dealing with or you don't; for the rest there is google. I don't think I had anyone ever ask me if I was A+ cert or any cert outside of a job interview.

By "tech support" do you mean pc repair and general maintenance? Be specific on the scope of what you want to do.

In my experience the hardest part of doing repair as a side gig was the human part. Unrealistic expectations are the norm.

If you are going outside of your friends and family use a liability waiver. Do not be taken advantage of. Also do not under price your services, even a simple reformat can turn into a huge time sink on a machine.

If you are really trying to start a business off of this ask what can you offer that the other guys don't,won't or can't? On just Craiglist alone there a many post on pc repair for $100 for a "fix."
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#9CardigansFan(Topic Creator)Posted 7/15/2014 8:13:41 AM
Well, I'll try to just work off referrals for the time being and see how that goes; maybe I'll land a gig for some bigger company/client and then I can be like "well I've done work for so-and-so and he was quite satisfied" or something like that.

Anyway, it looks like my local community college has a few Microsoft and networking certificates that are only 3-4 classes each, I might just do those online since I do have quite a bit of spare time available. I'm sure it'll put people at ease when I can say something like "I'm Microsoft-certified."
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'93 Saturn SL2 * Xperia Z1 Compact * NX300
Clevo W230SS 3200x1800 | i7-4700MQ | GTX860M | 16GB RAM | 480GB mSATA
#10Digital StormPosted 7/15/2014 8:24:32 AM
I make a pretty decent amount of money off it as a side job. That's mostly due in part to my network of clients who know they can call me at just about any hour of any day and I'll be there provide support for their issues. You definitely don't need a formal education for it. You just need a reliable circle of people that know they can depend on you.

The only downside I guess is my fee per hour.
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